CFSR Background

The Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) are a partnership between the Federal and State governments that seeks to examine State programs from two perspectives: outcomes of services provided, and systemic factors that affect those outcomes. The review process identifies the State agency’s strengths as well as areas needing improvement, and then uses a Program Improvement Plan to help States make needed improvements and build on identified strengths. Central to the review process is the promotion of sound practice principles that support improved outcomes for both children and families. The ultimate goal of the review process is to drive program improvements by focusing on systemic changes, as well as to enhance States’ capacity to become self-evaluating.

The primary focus of the CFSR reviews is on outcomes for children and families and the child welfare system’s efforts to support the achievement of those outcomes. Remember that when we talk about the child welfare system, we are talking about the State child welfare agency as well as all of the other agencies that work together to help families achieve positive outcomes. In other words, we are looking at the entire system of care, a system that includes State agencies, service providers, the courts, law enforcement, foster and adoptive parents, and so on. Note, however, that because of the structure and autonomy of the education system, it is the only system that is considered separately from the child welfare system in this review.